Beware of Pity (novel)  

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"There are two kinds of pity: One, the weak and sentimental kind, which is really no more than the heart's impatience to be rid as quickly as possible of the painful emotion aroused by the sight of another's unhappiness, that pity which is not compassion, but only an instinctive desire to fortify one's own soul agains the sufferings of another; and the other, the only one at counts, the unsentimental but creative kind, which knows what it is about and is determined to hold out, in patience and forbearance, to the very limit of its strength and even beyond.”--Beware of Pity (1939) by Stefan Zweig

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Beware of Pity (Ungeduld des Herzens, literally The Heart's Impatience) is a 1939 novel by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. It was Zweig's longest work of fiction. It was adapted into a 1946 film of the same title, directed by Maurice Elvey.

Plot summary

The young lieutenant Anton Hofmiller is invited to the castle of the wealthy Hungarian Lajos Kekesfalva. He meets Kekesfalva's paralyzed daughter Edith and develops subtle affection and deep compassion for her. Edith falls in love with him. When she develops a hope for a speedy recovery, he eventually promises to marry her when she is recovered, with the hope that this will convince her to take the treatment. However, for fear of ridicule and contempt, he denies the engagement in public. When Edith learns of this, she takes her own life. Overwhelmed by guilt, he is deployed to the First World War.

In popular culture

As well as being filmed in Britain in 1946 as Beware of Pity, the novel was filmed in France as La Pitié dangereuse, 1979, directed by Édouard Molinaro and starring Marie-Hélène Breillat and Mathieu Carrière.

Wes Anderson loosely based his film The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) on Beware of Pity and The Post Office Girl.

The four-part Russian television series Lyubov za lyubov (Love for Love) (2013) is based on Beware of Pity. The story is set in Ukraine on the eve of World War I in 1914. The director is Sergei Ashkenazy.

It was adapted to a stage play at the Barbican in 2017 directed by Simon McBurney.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Beware of Pity (novel)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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